Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Our school age children and their parents should exercise care as the summer season and holidays begin in a few weeks from now.
It is an important subject to tackle because there are so many accidents and incidents that occur during the holidays. Summer is a time when they have a lot of time on their hands and less supervision than any other time of the year.
Children are adventurous in ways that can hurt them. Unlike many of us older ones they have boundless energy and they get restless and bored easily.
For all their attachment to video games the great outdoors are still attractive, because there are things you can do outside that you cannot do inside.
When I was growing up I used to hear adults say that when you see two or more children unsupervised watch out because that is a recipe for trouble. That might not be true for your “perfect” child, but it doesn’t lessen the fact that sometimes their sense of adventure far exceeds their sense of judgment.
How do we reduce the possibility of some accidents?
Make children accountable. Don’t allow them to blame others and point fingers. It is a deadly habit that can hurt them in the long run.
Whatever behavior they engage in, no matter what the influence of others might be, they still need to be held accountable. Knowing better and not doing better is self-defeating.
Let them know how important it is to exercise care even in situations that they do not see the existence of any grave danger. Obvious danger tends to put us on alert. Where we see no danger tends to make us act more carelessly. The old saying is still true, “Better to be safe than sorry.”
Don’t always do what everyone else is doing or the group is doing. Think for yourself. The herd mentality of doing what the group is doing without thinking of personal consequences is a sure way to get in trouble.
Communicate with adult family members. Get adult perspective on some of the things you would like to do. Going to the pool seems harmless enough but who else is going with you? What kind of supervision is going to be there? Can you swim? How old are you?
All of these questions and more would determine whether or not the child or young person should be there without parental supervision.
Finally, make clear what your young person can and cannot do. In other words set boundaries or limit autonomy.
Let them know what they need to get your permission to do and what they can engage in on their own. This is one area that should be crystal clear.
Always express congratulations when your child shows a sense of responsibility, even in small things. And let them know how proud you are of them.
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